Beats Solo Pro review: Better Beats
- Comfortable for most users
- Active noise-canceling works well
- Turns off when folded
- Better sound than prior Beats
- Battery life is just ok
- No headphone jack
Beats’ most popular line of headphones just got an update. Following the Beats Solo 3 Wireless are the Beats Solo Pro, redesigned with sustainability, simplicity, and noise-canceling in mind. They are also supposed to sound more balanced than previous Beats editions.
- Comfortable, no power button
- Smart noise canceling
- Improved sound quality
- Bonuses for Apple fans
- Battery life
- Price and availability
- Our Take
With that in mind, I couldn’t help but wonder if the Solo Pro might make a compelling alternative to the Sony and Bose headphones that currently sit at the top.
Comfortable, no power button
The Beats Solo Pro are sleek and minimalist. The two available buttons are all but invisible, and even the one LED indicator light doesn’t call attention to itself. In terms of style, Beats has the competition, well, beat.
The metal slider on the headband uses anodized aluminum, and it’s easy enough to slide up and down with your hands when not on your head, but I felt it difficult to make on-head adjustments due to quite a bit of resistance.
The headband padding is improved, but the grippy surface of the rubbery material covering the padding still bugs me when it pulls on my hair. The clamping force isn’t excessive, but you’ll definitely feel the headphones when you wear them. They don’t disappear on your head as the Bose Active Noise Cancelling 700 do.
Longer listening sessions had me wanting to take the headphones off, but I’m talking about an hour and a half of use, and to be clear, I am more picky about fit and pressure than most — on-ear headphones just aren’t my bag. If Apple/Beats is aiming this headset at “creators” as their website indicates, I can see the comfort level being fine for that intended audience. I would not, however, recommend the Solo Pro as a long-haul travel companion.
They’re not just attractive — they make a statement.
I’m a fan of the matte finish for its durability and easy-cleaning, but can we talk about the colors for a second? Yes, they come in classic, muted tones such as black, grey, and ivory, but I’d recommend opting for the Pharrell Williams editions, which come in more exciting light blue, dark blue, and red colors. They’re not just attractive, they make a statement.
Simplicity is the theme here, and that’s seen in elements beyond aesthetic design. For example, there’s no power button. Similar to the Sennheiser Momentum 3, unfolding the headphones will power them on and put them into a pairing state. Folding them in turns the headphones off.
While this is intuitive, it does mean the battery will continue to wear down when worn around the neck or left unfolded on a desk.
Time will tell if this concern is warranted. Personally, I’m happy to see the feature here, as it means one less button to fiddle around with.
If you like that, then you’ll love the only visible button on the headphones. It’s satisfying to press. You tap it once to turn on active noise-canceling (ANC), and tap it again to turn on transparency mode, which allows you to listen to the sounds around you without needing to take the headphones off.
You double-tap it to turn both ANC and transparency off. That’s it. There aren’t multiple levels of noise-canceling to customize — it’s simple. A three-way rocker on one side of the headphones that lets you toggle volume, change tracks, take calls, and activate a voice assistant.
Beats is following Apple’s approach of building its products in a way that’s better for the environment, which is why the Solo Pro are made out of 36% recycled plastic, and the felt case that comes with it is also made of recycled plastic. The packaging for the box uses up less space, which helps reduce Beats’ carbon footprint, and is made with 70% recycled material.
Unlike Powerbeats Pro, which have an IPX4 rating for water and dust resistance, there’s no rating on the Beats Solo Pro. Don’t fret. However, Beats says you can use the headphones in heavy rain, and sweat won’t affect them either.
Smart noise canceling
The key feature on the Beats Solo Pro is active noise-canceling, bringing the series up to speed with the rest of the market. Unlike other headphones with ANC, there are no varying levels of noise-canceling to toggle through, similar to the system Beats uses on its Studio 3 Wireless.
Turn it on with the only button on the bottom of the headphones, and Beats’ proprietary algorithm will work with the two microphones on the exterior, listening for ambient sounds, as well as with the two interior microphones listening for leakage and volume, to tweak the level of noise-canceling based on your environment.
This algorithm, according to the company, is dynamically creating filters and adapting 50,000 times a second. That might sound like it would feel jarring, but it isn’t. The transitions are smooth and virtually unnoticeable.
If you’re in a quiet coffee shop, the Solo Pro delivers a certain level of noise-canceling. Walk outside to the bustle of traffic and cars honking, and that level will automatically increase to block out the sound as much as possible. It’s smart. I don’t need to press a button to tweak the level of noise-canceling. I can let the headphones do the work for me.
I don’t need to press a button to tweak the level of noise-canceling; I can let the headphones do the work for me.
The Beats Solo Pro don’t cancel noise as well as the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 or the Sony WH-1000xM3, but they do a respectable job. The passive noise isolation does plenty of work on its own and the ANC swings around to take the edge off. Add the sound of music or a movie, and you aren’t going to hear much of the world around you.
Surprisingly, transparency mode is more impressive. It sounds closer to not wearing headphones than any competing model we’ve tested yet. Only the new AirPods Pro do better.
Improved sound quality
This is the best-sounding set of Beats cans yet. The over-hyped bass we’ve been complaining about for years has toned down to an acceptable level. I still get plenty of bass with a deep presence in the lowest octaves, maintaining the notion that you can feel the bass as well as hear it.
The midrange is also improved, in part thanks to the bass being placed under control. As a result, the Solo Pro don’t have to boost the upper midrange as much to create a sense of clarity and transparency.
And the treble? I’m into it. The highs are bright yet tasteful — zesty, even — but never move into harshness territory. Transients are also well-executed, with sufficient detail around the pluck of strings and tapping of percussion.
Bonuses for Apple fans
Thanks to the Apple’s h2 chip, you get access to features like proximity pairing, making it fast and easy to pair the headphones to your phone, and there’s also iCloud pairing so you can listen from any other iCloud-connected products with ease, like your MacBook. The chip enables the microphones to constantly listen for the Siri trigger for easy access to the assistant. You can also long-press to activate Google Assistant on Android phones. Many of these features are available for Android phones through Beats’ app.
The headphones also support Apple’s Audio Sharing, introduced in iOS 13. This means you can share your audio, be it music or audio from a movie, with another Apple device owner so your friends and family can listen in without needing a headphone splitter.
They also notice when you’re talking on the phone and employ external microphones to eliminate ambient sound, so the call quality is unaffected by the noises in your surroundings. It works quite well for background clatter, but not so much for wind. In fact, wind created quite a bit of noise inside the headphones themselves.
Beats claims 40 hours of music playback on the Solo Pro, but if you use active noise-canceling or transparency mode, playback time cuts down to 20 hours. That’s a little less than competitors like the Sony WH-1000XM3, which maintain 30 hours of playback with active noise-canceling. While you may not have listening sessions that last that long, it still means less time between charges.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Speaking of plugging in, it’s a shame Beats is still using Apple’s Lightning port on the Solo Pro. You get the same Fast Fuel technology as before, which delivers three hours of playback in 10 minutes of charging, and that’s nice and all, but it’s time for Beats to start using USB-C. It’s more widely-used — even on Apple’s MacBooks — and it’s the better, more versatile choice.
I don’t think the world at large is ready for headphones with no headphone jack.
Now, speaking of not plugging in: There’s no headphone jack. Sure, there’s also no headphone jack on many phones today, but I can think of several sound sources that aren’t wireless, not the least of which is the armrest on your airline seat, where a 3. 5mm headphone jack is the only way you’ll hear the sound that goes with the blockbuster you’re watching on a 7-inch screen. I don’t think the world at large is ready for headphones with no headphone jack.
A black Lightning cable is included in the box for Android phone owners that may not have a Lightning cable lying around. Also, you can listen to music while the Solo Pro are charging.
Price and availability
The Beats Solo Pro cost $300 and are available now. You can order here. Beats, a brand under Apple, now offers AppleCare for its wireless products. You can pay $29 extra to cover your headphones for two years, and that includes accidental damage protection.
The pricing makes them more affordable than the excellent Sony WH-1000XM3, but that $50 difference comes with a sacrifice in long-term comfort and noise-canceling quality. On the other hand, the Beats Solo Pro are way more Apple-friendly and quite a bit more stylish.
The Beats Solo Pro deliver exactly what their target audience wants: style, simplicity, and refined sound. It’s tempting to compare them to popular models from the likes of Sony and Bose due to their cost and features, and in some ways, they compete effectively. However, the Solo Pro aren’t looking to land a spot in a frequent flyer’s travel bag, and that’s just fine. If you’re looking for better travel headphones, we’ve got the best right here.
Is there a better alternative?
In terms of style and simplicity — and appeal to Apple fans — the Beats are at the top of their class. For better audio quality, the Sony WH-1000xM3 are a great choice. For noise canceling and call quality, the Bose ANC 700 are a top pick.
How long will it last?
The Beats Pro Solo feel durable, according to my short-term stress tests. The only limiting factor here is the same found on any wireless headphone. The battery.
The Beats Solo Pro come with Apple/Beats limited one-year warranty. You can read the fine print here.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you are a Beats fan and you want one of the most stylish headphone options available today, the Beats Solo Pro are a stand-out choice. That the sound quality has improved and noise-canceling is in the mix is a welcome change and an encouraging new direction for the brand.
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Set up and use your Solo Pro headphones
Learn how to pair your Solo Pro headphones with your devices, control audio, switch listening modes, and more.
Turn on and charge your Solo Pro headphones
Unfold your headphones to power them on. You’ll know that they’re on because the LED under the right earcup will light up.
When you’re done, fold the headphones to power them off.
Charge your Solo Pro headphones
Plug your headphones in to a power source using the included Lightning Cable. As the headphones charge, the LED pulses. When charging is complete, the light will turn white and remain lit.
With Active Noise Cancelling or Transparency mode turned on, your headphones provide up to 22 hours of playback from 2 hours of charging, and up to 3 hours of playback from a 10-minute charge. With Active Noise Cancelling or Transparency mode turned off, you can enjoy up to 40 hours of playback from 2 hours of charging, or up to 6 hours of playback from a 10-minute charge.*
To check your battery level, press and release the mode button and check the status of the LED. The LED will pulse red if your battery is 0%-80% charged, pulse white if it’s 80%-99% charged, and remain lit white when it’s fully charged.
Pair your Solo Pro headphones
Learn how to pair your headphones with your device.
Pair with iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- Turn on Bluetooth on your iPhone.
- Unfold your headphones to power them on and hold them next to your unlocked iPhone.
- After a few seconds, your iPhone asks you to connect. If it doesn’t, press and hold the mode button on your left earcup for 5 seconds.
- Follow the instructions on your iPhone. If you don’t see any instructions, use the following steps to pair with a Mac, Android device, or other device.
Pair with a Mac, an Android device, or another device
- Turn on Bluetooth on your Mac, Android device, or other device.
- Unfold your headphones to power them on.
- Open the Bluetooth menu on your Mac, Android device, or other device. For example, on your Mac, choose Apple () menu > System Preferences, then click Bluetooth.
- In the list of discovered Bluetooth devices, tap or Control-click your headphones, then choose Connect.
Learn how to connect using the Beats app for Android.
Use your Solo Pro headphones
Find out how to skip tracks, control volume, change listening modes, and more.
Control what’s playing
To control audio playback, use the “b” button on the right earcup.
- To pause or play audio, press once.
- To skip to the next track, press twice. Press three times to skip backward.
- Press twice and hold on the second press to scan forward through a track. Press three times and hold on the third press to scan backward through a track.
To control the playback volume or call volume, use the volume buttons located on the right earcup.
- Press and release the volume up button, or press and hold to increase volume continuously.
- Press and release volume down button, or press and hold to decrease volume continuously.
Switch listening modes
Change listening modes on your Solo Pro headphones depending on how much noise cancellation you want. The listening modes you can choose are:
- Noise Cancelling: Use this mode with or without music to turn on noise cancelling and block all sounds around you.
- Transparency: Your Solo Pro headphones amplify external noises so that you can listen to music and still be aware of what’s around you.
- Off: Noise Cancelling and Transparency are turned off and only the earcups block sound.
To switch listening modes on your iPhone, go to Control Center and tap and hold the headphones volume control. You can also press the mode button on your left earcup. Press the mode button once to switch between Noise Cancelling and Transparency. Press twice to turn both modes off for maximum battery life.
Hands-free controls with Siri
To activate Siri, you can say, “Hey Siri.” Or you can press and hold the “b” button on the right earcup until you hear a chime. Then say what you need. You can say something like, “Hey Siri, skip this song”. Or “Hey Siri, remind me to take a break in two hours.”
To activate the voice assistance feature for other devices, press and hold the “b” button on the right earcup.
Learn what to do if Siri isn’t working.
Siri features might vary by country or region.
Answer phone calls
To control phone calls, use the “b” button on the right earcup.
- Press once to answer or end a call.
- Press once to answer a second incoming call and put the first call on hold. When two calls are active, this switches between calls.
- Press and hold for 1 second to reject an incoming call.
Reset your Solo Pro headphones
If you have sound, Bluetooth, or charging issues with your headphones, you might want to reset them.
* Testing conducted by Apple in August 2019 using pre-production Solo Pro units and software paired with iPhone XS units and pre-release software. The playlist consisted of continuous pink noise at 80 dB. 10 minute charge testing conducted with drained Solo Pro that were charged for 10 minutes, then audio playback was started until Solo Pro stopped playback. Battery life depends on device settings, environment, usage and many other factors.
Tour operators excluded from the register by mistake? / Articles on Profi.Travel
The Tourist Assistance Association is sounding the alarm: companies are not given the opportunity to exercise the right to an alternative to financial guarantees.
As Profi.Travel was informed by the Turpomoshch association, the process of liquidating Rostourism and transferring its powers to the Ministry of Economic Development is accompanied by inconsistency between departments, which leads to errors that affect business. So, according to the association, six tour operators were accidentally excluded from the federal register. The reason indicated in the order of the Ministry of Economic Development – the lack of an agreement on financial security – according to the head of the Tourist Assistance Alexander Osaulenko, does not correspond to reality.
On December 30 last year, the website of the Ministry of Economic Development issued an order to exclude tour operators from the federal register due to failure to provide information about their financial security of civil liability for a new period. However, according to the Turpomoshch association, at least six companies got into it by mistake. Moreover, the situations differ for them. So, four tour operators (ADM Solar TG LLC, Club La Costa LLC, Sard Travel LLC and Meridian Express Holidays LLC) have already received approval from Rostourism on an alternative to financial guarantees in the form of a formed FPO in the amount of 7% of the sold tourism products for the last year and were not supposed to submit new information until April 2023. Two more, LLC Pride and LLC Solo-Tour S, in the fall collected a package of documents confirming their right to this option of continuing operating activities. But it did not help them to stay on the register.
Recall, according to the order of Rostourism No. 160-PR-21 dated April 29, 2021, the decision to exempt the tour operator that formed the FPO in the amount of 7% from the need to have financial security in the form of insurance or a bank guarantee was made by the Tourist Assistance Association in agreement with Rostourism . The industry regulator had 20 working days to do this. However, the two companies in question filed applications for the FPO to be formed for the first time just at the time of the abolition of Rostourism. “In October, we sent a package of documents to the Federal Tourism Agency and received an answer that the Ministry of Economic Development is already dealing with these issues. And now the approval process is not included in the functionality of Rostourism. On the same day, we sent a package of documents to the Ministry of Economic Development. And on December 30, the ministry issued an order to exclude 50 tour operators, among which were these two companies, ”says the Turpomoshch specialist.
Tourist Assistance assumes that the error occurred due to the lack of well-established interaction between the Federal Tourism Agency and the new regulator of the tourism industry. In confirmation of this version, on January 12, the association received a letter from the Ministry of Economic Development, stating that a transitional period is now underway, and the department does not have approved rules for coordinating such lists. This means that there are no legitimate grounds for doing this.
“We have a huge number of companies that will soon need to approve the formed FPO. But the process is not well established. It turns out that the tour operators fulfilled all obligations on their part, withdrew funds from circulation for deductions to the fund, but the measure due to them is still not available. We understand the transition stage, but we don’t understand why the consumer and business should be responsible for this, ”comments Alexander Osaulenko.
“During the transition period, there are indeed difficulties in state functions, and we are all waiting for everything to get better,” Georgy Mokhov, founder of the Persona Grata legal agency, confirms the presence of problem . In his opinion, the transition period may last until March 2023.
Profi.Travel sent a request regarding this situation to the Ministry of Economic Development. The department’s response will be published as soon as it reaches the editorial office.
Photo: Sam Pak, unsplash
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8 tips from G2 huNter-
Counter-Strike is a game that has been holding the bar of one of the most popular projects in the CIS for a long time, and over the past two years the number of active players has increased dramatically compared to 2018-2019. Quite a good result for a game that was released back in 2012.
So, while both new and experienced players are jumping into Steam to play a couple of matches of their favorite tactical shooter, we thought we’d ask an expert for some thoughts on how newcomers can quickly level up their CS:GO game. Nemanja ‘huNter-‘ Kovacs, a real heavyweight on the professional CS:GO scene and vice-champion of the last major in Stockholm, will help us with this.
So, huNter- is ready to give beginners some important advice.
1. Invest your time
It’s impossible to become an esports star overnight, and mastering the skills needed to move from beginner to experienced player will take a lot more effort than just playing a couple of matches with friends.
According to huNter-, in CS:GO your result is directly affected by how much time you put into the game: “Firstly, if you are aiming for a pro/semi-pro career, you will have to work hard from the very beginning. Play a lot of CS, do useful things every day: for example, improve your aim, watch matches of tier-1 teams and players, and extract as much useful information from them as possible.
2. Know your role
Most online shooters are aimed at simplifying the gameplay: destroy opponents, increase the number of kills, and you will be on top. CS:GO, in turn, has achieved its success due to the depth of the gameplay and the importance of teamwork in the process of achieving the goal. In CS:GO, each person in the team plays his role, and there are exactly 5 of them: open fragger (the player who runs first for the exchange), sniper, lurker, captain and rifler (rifle player).
Even if it sounds too complicated, don’t be afraid – CS:GO is still a very exciting game, although it requires more attention. If you want to get the basics down quickly, huNter- is here to help: “When you’re on the attacking side, your main task is to plant the bomb on A or B, or take out all five opponents before or after the bomb is planted. If you play on the defensive side, your goal is to protect both sides – you must not let the attack plant the bomb. Therefore, you are required to either destroy the enemies before planting, or defuse the bomb. On a professional level, the coach plays a big role in the team and is the heart of the team’s strategy.”
3. Understand your weapons
Weapons in CS:GO are almost a character in their own right, and new players very quickly discover that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all maps. And these are not just the basic rules of shooters of the level “shotguns are good only for close combat, and snipers for long-range.” According to huNter-, players should take the time to learn their entire arsenal and identify the best guns for each scenario.
“There are no unimportant details,” he explains. – You have to play a lot and be well versed in all the cards and weapons, as well as how aiming and recoil works. So if you want to learn fast, you have to play a lot.”
“You have to try all weapons to understand how they work: spray, vantap, jump shot. And, of course, you need to watch how strong teams and players play, analyze how they use weapons, when they buy them and all that. If your team needs grenades, but you don’t have enough money for them, then you will have to buy the cheapest weapon.
4. Learn how to manage finances
AK-47 is one of the best guns in the game.
Knowing your gear is important, but you also need to know how to spend money wisely. Especially if you’ve just started learning how to play, you shouldn’t spend all your hard earned money on the wrong gun. So what strategy should be followed? huNter- says: “M4A4 (defense) and AK47 (attack) are the most popular guns in the game, so buying them will be a plus. Also, since there is a sniper role in the game, we should always have one AWPer on both sides, and maybe even two on defense. Also, lately a lot of players are choosing SG 553 and AUG because they are quite easy to use.”
“If your opponents aren’t very good at economics and only buy weapons (no helmets or armor), then it’s always better to buy cheaper guns to get out of the rounds with the most money.”
It’s always better to buy cheap guns to get out of the rounds with the most money.
Nemanja ‘huNter-’ Kovacs
5. Combine training
In CS, as elsewhere, practice makes perfect. To really excel in CS:GO and feel like more than free food for snipers, you’ll have to spend time training and building their routine. The training regimen is unique to each player, but variety is an important aspect in becoming a skilled player.
huNter- gives an example of his schedule: “Our team trains 5-6 days a week, depending on the schedule of official matches or tournaments. In general, we train about 8 hours a day. First, for 1-2 hours, we do theory on the cards that we practice during the day, so we discuss and form a plan that we want to stick to that day. Then we determine 4-5 maps that we need to prepare against other teams.
“My personal training is different. Sometimes I play a lot of deathmatches and training games to improve my mechanics, and other days I watch replays of games, go solo on the server and look for good places for my positions. It depends on what I need to work on. Mechanical and strategic training are inseparable for those who want to play CS better.”
6. If you’re ready, go to paid servers
When you first start playing CS:GO, the thought of paying and getting beat up doesn’t sound very appealing. However, paid servers and subscription servers like FACEIT exist for a reason: they offer more serious players the opportunity to compete by a different standard. huNter- explains the importance of these servers and why they are a necessary step on the path from beginner to pro: “The advantage of FACEIT over regular matches is, first of all, the quality of the servers themselves. 128 tickrates on FACEIT versus 64 tickrates in matchmaking. At 128 ticks I feel much better, the game feels smoother. In addition, players on FACEIT are better, mostly regular players who fight at a competitive level. There are more newbies in regular matchmaking, we all started there. However, when you start to understand the game better and feel that you are ready for more serious competition, FACEIT will be the right decision.”
Study the cards carefully
7. Get the basics ready
Sometimes the best advice is to go back to the basics. When you’re just starting out, it’s important for you to remember the basic ingredients for turning cannon fodder into a ruthless winning machine: it’s hard work, the right attitude, and teamwork. huNter- lists the basics:
“First of all, you must have a comfortable environment (computer, monitor, peripherals). Secondly, you must have the will and desire to succeed, train every day, get as much knowledge from other players and teams as possible. In the end, you need to find a team and work with them for a certain amount of time.
8. Never give up
It is understandable that beginners may have doubts. You keep being destroyed in a couple of seconds, and you can’t answer with anything, and the difference in skill can seem insurmountable. However, CS:GO has become a phenomenon for a reason – the rewards far outweigh the initial hardships, because CS is a high-level game that has depth and is a real pleasure.
For those just starting out, huNter- has some advice: “If you’re willing to work hard and really want to succeed, just be patient.